Each year Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good presents a free webinar featuring the top ten digital marketing and fundraising trends to prioritize in the following year. This year’s webinar, 10 Digital Marketing & Fundraising Trends to Prioritize in 2023, was presented on December 7. The notes from this year’s webinar are featured below and you can watch the recording through February 28, 2023. 

1) Know that the effectiveness of social media is often overrated.

The nonprofit sector needs to have an honest conversation about the effectiveness of social media. Too often, social media companies release new data and recommendations that are meant to inspire nonprofits to use social media more often, but increasingly, the data is biased and the recommendations are more beneficial to the social media companies than to nonprofits.

As a sector, we’ve been addicted to the buzz about social media – and social media itself – for nearly 20 years, but if we take a step back and take a critical look at the big picture of social media, many nonprofits will discover that their return on investment (ROI) from using social media is minimal.

First, organic reach is at an all-time low and the value and effectiveness of social media advertising is questionable:

  • Facebook: 2.9 billion monthly active users – organic reach is estimated to be 4%.
  • Instagram: 1.4 billion monthly active users – organic reach is estimated to be 6%.
  • LinkedIn: 310 million monthly active users – organic reach is estimated to be 4%.
  • Twitter: 238 million monthly active users – organic reach is estimated to be 4%.

Second, and as a result of record-low organic reach, referral traffic from social media is also at a record low.

Third, social media companies are in chaos at the moment and 2023 is likely to be a rough year. Meta’s advertising revenue model is failing and their future is unpredictable. Elon Musk’s Twitter is chaotic, and if it continues on its current path, many nonprofits will be forced to pause or leave Twitter. Also, research continues to reveal that social media is dangerous to mental health and that disinformation on social media is eroding democracy. As a whole, there is not much positive to say about the social media companies these days.

Thus, have an honest look at your social media campaigns:

  1. How is your referral traffic from social media? If you are receiving minimal website traffic from social media, it’s time to either invest in social media ads or post less often.
  2. What is your engagement rate? Like organic reach, engagement rates are at an all-time low.
  3. Are you raising funds using Facebook & Instagram Fundraising Tools? If the tools are performing for your nonprofit, then keep at it in 2023.

If you discover that your return on investment (ROI) from social media is low, then 2023 is a great year to shift your priorities to other digital marketing and fundraising tools that have been neglected due to an overfocus on social media.

What about TikTok, WhatsApp, and Mastodon?

TikTok: There is a lot of pressure right now to create (time-consuming) long-form videos for TikTok (and Instagram Reels), but only experiment if you have 3-10 hours per week and staff that are comfortable on camera. Currently, the average engagement rate for nonprofits on TikTok is 7.6% and 1.95% for Instagram Reels. As more nonprofits and brands join TikTok, reach will likely drop.

WhatsApp: With Meta struggling due to its hyperfocus on the Metaverse over the last 12 months, Meta plans to expand the functionality of WhatsApp. For nonprofits, WhatsApp Communities are the tool to watch.

Mastodon: A Twitter alternative, but even with all the chaos of the Elon Musk takeover, any Twitter alternative will struggle. As of now, Mastodon seems to be made up of users mostly from the liberal/progressive spectrum while Truth Social is for the conservative/right wing of the political spectrum. Siloed social media is problematic and frankly, boring. A viable Twitter alternative will need to attract a wide variety of individuals and brands that can co-exist online with minimal content moderation.


Nonprofit Tech for Good offers a Certificate in Social Media Marketing & Fundraising that takes an honest approach to social media. Social media is still a valuable tool for nonprofits, but the effectiveness of social media has waned significantly in recent years. To ensure that your nonprofit is not wasting valuable time and financial resources on an obsolete social media strategy, learn more about our new certificate program.

2) Prioritize the core tools of digital marketing and fundraising in 2023.

If your nonprofit decides to invest less time in social media in 2023, then use that extra time to complete items on your to do list that have been overlooked or neglected. The recommendations listed below can be implemented quickly and positively impact your nonprofit’s digital marketing and fundraising strategy:

1. Website

  • Give your website a quick refresh with new photos, feature stories, and an updated right bar. Most right bars on nonprofit websites are left blank, but click-through rates are often higher than links in navigation bars.
  • Apply and utilize Google and Microsoft Ads Grants.
  • Prioritize SEO by publishing content on a regular basis to your website, such as a “News” section or blog. Search engines are constantly crawling, indexing, and ranking websites. Nonprofit Tech for Good is offering a free webinar on March 29, Blogging Best Practices for Nonprofits.

2. Email Marketing & Fundraising

  • 68% of nonprofits send email campaigns once per month or less, thus send email campaigns more often! Email is a top driver of online donations, RSVPs to events, and traffic to your website. The value of sending email more often, in most cases, outweighs the risk of alienating your subscribers.
  • According to the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, 69% of nonprofits say they never stop emailing even if the subscriber is no longer engaged. Delete unengaged subscribers!
  • Check to see if your domain is on an email server blacklist.

3. Donation Pages

3) Implement a donor retention strategy.

While not as fun as using social media, implementing a donor retention strategy is likely to result in more revenue and dedicated supporters.

  • According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Report, the overall donor retention rate for 2021 was 43.6% — meaning that 56.4% of donors that gave in 2021 are likely not to give in 2022. It can be 5x more cost-effective to retain donors than recruit new ones.
  • Always thank your donors after each donation via email and create a new donor welcome email series. ThankView allows nonprofits to easily send personalized “Thank You” videos to donors.
  • Publish quarterly or bi-annual Impact reports in addition to your annual report. (55+ Templates and Canva)
  • Send a donation summary at the end of the year for tax purposes.

Fundraising Effectiveness Report

4) Invest in professional graphic design.

The rise in social media has resulted in the expectation that digital marketing and fundraising professionals be skilled in graphic design, but the ability to effectively use Canva isn’t enough. Some projects absolutely require hiring professional graphic designers.

5) Launch a tribute giving program.

As the saying goes, what’s old is new again. Nonprofits began to offer tribute gifts in the early 2000s and then the concept fell off the radar screen of most nonprofits in the 2010s. Today, the technology available makes launching or re-launching a new-and-improved tribute giving program an obvious fit for the 2020s.

How to Launch & Grow a Tribute Giving Program

6) Embrace Instagram Fundraising Tools.

The power of Facebook Fundraising Tools seems to have plateaued over the last 12 months, but the power of Instagram Fundraising Tools have yet to be realized. 2023 is a good year to start experimenting with fundraising on Instagram if you haven’t already.

7) Explore streaming fundraising opportunities.

Streamers on Twitch raised $83 million for charity in 2020 and $110 million in 2021 using Tiltify. Initially, live streamers that fundraised for their favorite nonprofits were gamers, but now the trend has expanded to streaming of all kinds, such as live music, cooking demonstrations, etc.

  • Twitch.tv is a live streaming platform with 140 million monthly active users. 65% of Twitch users are male and 73% are under the age of 35. [BackLinkO]
  • It’s worth noting that not all streamers are gamers – they also stream
  • According to the Humane Society of the United States in the Gaming for Good podcast series, traditional outreach to gamers does not work – they do not respond to email pitches, gifts, or DMs. They live in a different world.
  • To build relationships with gamers, you need to meet them where they are TwitchCon. [2022 Session]
  • The Humane Society recommends building relationships with small and mid-famous streamers. Famous streamers will mention your name a couple of times and be done.
  • If you think Streaming for Good is a good fit for your nonprofit, 1) create an account on Twitch and follow nonprofits and fundraising streamers, 2) create an account on Tiltify and/or StreamLabs Charity; and, 3) create a streaming fundraising pitch page on your website: Humane SocietyNo Kid HungryDirect ReliefCharity WaterAmerican Red Cross.

Charity Water’s Stream for Clean Water

8) Consider launching a texting campaign.

Text messaging is on the verge of a comeback. Nonprofits embraced text messaging and text-to-give in the years after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but since then, the technology has improved in its efficiency and cost.

9) Stay current on online privacy law.

New online privacy legislation is being enacted all over the world. The law is finally starting to catch up with the internet and privacy rights are a legal trend that nonprofits cannot afford to ignore.

MoreWeb.org

10) Prioritize cybersecurity.

According to the 2023 Nonprofit Tech for Good Report, 27% of nonprofits worldwide have experienced a cyberattack (email phishing, website hacking, ransomware, social media attack, etc.). Cybersecurity cannot be ignored in 2023.


Nonprofit Tech for Good offers a Certificate in Social Media Marketing & Fundraising that takes an honest approach to social media. Social media is still a valuable tool for nonprofits, but the effectiveness of social media has waned significantly in recent years. To ensure that your nonprofit is not wasting valuable time and financial resources on an obsolete social media strategy, learn more about our new certificate program.